Before this year, I hadn’t been in St. Paul’s Episcopal church since I was 11 years old. The only reason I was there then was because my coach needed a place for our youth basketball team to practice and we ended up in the St. Paul’s gym. 

Through a very old unresolved cemetery deed issue between the city of Chester and St. Paul’s Episcopal, I got involved trying to sort things out due to my role as Director of Public Property for the city. I visited a group of church leaders to hear their side of the story and couldn’t help but be overwhelmed at the beauty and condition of the church. I met Rev. Lawrence Civale and asked for a full tour with special interest in seeing that basketball court again. 

Since then, Father Civale and I have been communicating frequently and when he invited me to their revival, I put it on my calendar and I’m glad I did. He said it would be a nice service and that was a gross understatement. 

Friendly greeters were outside on the corner of 9th and Madison directing parking and pointing us where to enter. Once inside, more friendly people were gathered along with delicious hot coco, hot apple cider, and a variety of the some of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. 

Once inside the sanctuary, it’s impossible to not be engrossed in the magnificence of the space that was completed in 1900. They just don’t (can’t) make churches like this today. 

The revival featured a quartet of singers, a trio of musicians, an amazing soloist on the keyboards, a few readings and prayers, and a powerful sermon that included a kitten story I’ll never forget. 

The Very Rev. Samuel Kirabi NDung’2u delivered the sermon

St. Paul’s Episcopal may best be known in Chester as the home of Chester Eastside Ministries which offers after school and summer education programming and a food pantry. The church also tends a community garden in a neighboring lot that I’m trying to help them expand for next season.

St. Paul’s Episcopal continues to be a great partner in the Chester community and is seeking to do a lot more. I highly recommend getting to know Father Civale and the good folks at St. Paul’s.